Zverev Riding Resolve And Fortune To Success
A lone deciding-set tie-break each week is proving all Alexander Zverev needs to find form and send him on his way to a title-winning run. Such has been the German’s fate over the past fortnight, he’d be forgiven for looking at ease should he find himself in a similar situation at the Western and Southern Open this week.
The #NextGenATP star and Race to Milan leader is coming off back-to-back titles on North American hard courts, at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. and last week’s Coupe Rogers in Montreal. In Washington, D.C., Zverev narrowly eked out a deciding-set tie-break triumph over Australian Jordan Thompson before he reeled off four straight matches to clinch the title.
Then, last week in Montreal he saved three match points and closed out Richard Gasquet in his opening match before again sweeping through his final four matches. Victory over Roger Federer in the final landed him a second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title for the season.
“I feel well on court. I feel very confident,” Zverev said. “Obviously, feeling good about my game as well. I won both first rounds in Washington and Montreal 7-6 in the third and then after that I haven’t lost a set the whole tournament.
“I think winning those kinds of matches helps as well. I really hope I don’t face 7-6 in the first round here again even though it’s kind of a good-luck charm. Would be nice to have a two-setter, maybe.
“Tennis is such a close game. You play the best players in the world and win those kinds of matches and it gives you a lot of confidence for the next few rounds.”
It has been a marked improvement from the 20 year old as he stands at a career-best No. 7 in the Emirates ATP Rankings and third behind only Federer and Rafael Nadal in the Emirates ATP Race to London. Since bringing former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero into the coaching fray in mid-July it has brought immediate success, although the improvements have been in the works for much longer.
“I think physically I’ve improved a lot, that’s probably been my biggest improvement,” Zverev said of his development in the past year. “The serve’s improved, my returns have improved, but all small things. In general my game has become faster.”